Stephanie Blythe
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{ Working with Porcelain }

I love working in porcelain for its quality and endurance. There is something magical about a medium that is made up of natural materials that are transformed through fire to a material that has been highly valued for its beauty and strength and has remained largely unchanged since its birth in the Orient over two thousand years ago. Cold, water, sunlight and the passage of time will not affect it.

With 30 years of experience in working with porcelain comes a certain confidence that enables me to take more risks with my work, I would like to think that my sculpting and attention to detail has improved. There was a period of time when I had a partner and 8 employees that helped assemble the dolls. I found that oftentimes I did not have a lot of creative time as I was running the business and churning out porcelain to be dressed, I have cut down my production (and income!) to a lot less. I do a lot more one of a kind dolls and less production, I want each piece that comes out of my studio to be the best that I can create and spend a lot of time on creating intricate detail in my pieces.

I start by sculpting my pieces in either sculpey or casteline (a wax product). I then make plaster molds of the sculpt and sometimes refine the piece by casting and rescuplting in porcelain clay, then firing it to shrink and making another mold. Up until a few years ago I always used premade dollmakers porcelain flesh but now like to use white porcelain and use washes of flesh colored china paint to create more depth in the painting. Once the molds are made I cast them and then resculpt to define features and get the animation that I want. Although I make molds for my work, I individually sculpt each clay piece after it is removed from the mold, this way I can give each it's unique character, and the movement and expression of the figure is not limited by the restrictions of my mold making. Because my work is small I can manipulate the porcelain clay to get the gestures that I want. Often times this means cutting the piece apart and reassembling it with clay and slip, I then clean and fire the piece. All my work is china painted which requires several firing in the kiln.

In this world of mass production and assembly lines I think that people find a handmade object very desireable. I try to create in my work an heirloom-treasure quality. I hope that it will endure the test of time and still create the same pleasing response to future generations so that they may stop, to look, to reflect on what they see and if they look deeply enough, they just might find a bit of soul staring back at them.

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Inspired by Gustav Klimt's scintillating painting, "The Kiss", my Kiss Couple proved to be one of my most technically challenging,
yet rewarding creations. The male and female figures are sculpted individually, then molds are made of each. Porcelain casts of the
two figures were joined and re-sculpted to reflect the intimate mood of the lovers. Read more about "The Kiss"
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